I feel like I refer to a lot that has to do with the melanoma journey as a roller coaster. There are so many ups and downs. Today as I "celebrate" 2 1/2 years since my surgery, I am feeling very reflective.
Just this past month, I have really experienced the extremes of the roller coaster.
I started out the month at a ladies retreat with my church. Now I'm the awkward girl who doesn't really connect with people. I try to treat people as I would like to be treated, but after 5 years at this church, I can say I haven't connected with more than a couple of people that I didn't already know before I began there. So why do I attend a church where you never get past acquaintance stage with anyone there? It is sound and Bible based teaching, and I have learned more and come closer to God in the past 5 years than the 31 before. Anyway, as I found myself sitting at the edge of the crowd looking in, my insecurities kicked in. If I am like this with people I "know", then why am I about to go to another state for two nights to meet people I only know online. Instantly I was reminded of two things, I am going to raise melanoma awareness, and my experience at the last walk I attended.
That night my pastors wife said she wanted to pray over us individually. She wanted the prayers to be from God. As I anxiously walked up for my turn, I didn't know what to expect. She prayed two things for me, one of which was that melanoma would never return to my life and that I would stay motivated to keep spreading the word and educating others. Afterwords she told me she loves my posts and that I should not stop posting. I knew then that I would not let any nervousness stop me from going.
I wish that kept the doubt away, but it didnt. Then the following Sunday at church, I think a group of people could have gotten whiplash turning to look at me for my reaction when the pastor mentioned that he planned to work on a great tan next summer. You could hear the movement. Okay, I'm an outsider, but they are aware of what I have to say.. I'm going to Charlotte next week!!!
So I arrived in Charlotte. To say I was nervous, would be an understatement, but I was also excited. I was so overwhelmed by the welcoming, caring, loving, supportive atmosphere of the entire weekend. I felt like it was someone else's life. I get eye rolls and "here she goes again" looks at home. There, everyone understood. Everyone wanted to know your experience, regardless of how your relationship with melanoma began. Everyone wanted to know you. What was important to you, was important to them. It was really something I was not used to.
My quiet, shy husband left Charlotte talking about next year, what we could do to raise more money next year, and going back and seeing everyone again. He was really touched by the stories he heard this weekend. Although he was quiet with those he met, he was interested as I told him everyone's stories. He was really touched by the testimonials before the walk. I think he transitioned from supporting me so he supported melanoma awareness, to understanding.
Coming home, and back to reality, I don't know how to describe it. When I first got home, I couldn't even explain it to my friend who asked. She said it sounded like I was still on a high from the weekend. I was. I was very overwhelmed. Then reality set in. I was back to work, back to homeschooling the high school son, back to struggling with housework. I had 2 days to plan a birthday party for my 6 year old, 2 days before Thanksgiving. It almost seemed that the weekend was like a dream. A very good dream.
So as I got long winded there... I am motivated. I am wearing my new "Fight The Beast - Melanoma" bracelet. I have ordered a new black ribbon watch (thank you BITNP for the link!) I am using the bracelet as a conversation starter. The watch will be one too. In my nutritional support side hobby business, we always hear "Wear the colors" so that people will ask. I'm going to wear the black ribbon, I'm going to keep on sharing, because as the potential whiplash statement proved, people are hearing, even if it seems they aren't listening. Planting the seed is only the beginning, it will grow, you just have to have faith.